Full 2013 Lincoln MKS Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Lincoln MKS receives major updates this year, including new standard equipment, exterior and interior styling changes, engine upgrades, fuel economy improvements and suspension enhancements.
Lincoln has been struggling with its identity for a while now, but by most accounts the brand is making headway. The 2013 Lincoln MKS comes with a number of styling changes, more standard and optional equipment, and a thorough upgrade to the car's performance and ride. All of these individual adjustments add up to create an improved MKS that should make it easier for those shopping in the luxury sedan segment to feel better about choosing a Lincoln for a better reason than simply "buy American."
Visually, the 2013 MKS is more elegant, with subtly yet significantly revised sheet metal that provides this large sedan with a more elegant, premium flair all its own. The dramatic-looking grille is still there (and will still be an acquired taste), but at least now it's been narrowed and swept back for a sleeker, more dramatic look. Inside, the MKS has more standard features, additional sound deadening and a far richer, more elegant design. The latest MyLincoln Touch system also lends a certain futuristic aesthetic, but it's far from user-friendly.
Powertrains remain fundamentally familiar, yet both available engines have increased output and efficiency. The base 3.7-liter V6 now makes 300 horsepower, a rise from last year's 273, while the turbocharged V6 gets another 10 hp for a total of 365 hp. Accompanying this are improved brakes, steering and an all-new adaptive suspension system that uses computer-controlled dampers to enhance both ride and handling. Unfortunately, the EcoBoost's big 20-inch wheels undo some of the suspension's talents, resulting in rather harsh responses over particularly rough pavement.
So while its many improvements for 2013 make the Lincoln MKS easier to consider, it still faces an uphill battle against the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This Lincoln is at least cheaper when similarly equipped, though, and there's still the appeal of buying from an American nameplate. If that's important, though, Cadillac's elegant XTS and sporty CTS are excellent choices in their own right. So is the luxurious, value-conscious Hyundai Genesis sedan, though it's obviously not American. Finally, there's the Ford Taurus, which is similar in many ways and comes with a lower price. In the face of these strong alternatives, we suggest taking a long look around before taking a Lincoln MKS home.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Lincoln MKS sedan comes in three trim levels: FWD, AWD and EcoBoost. The FWD and AWD models come with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, rear parking sensors, adaptive xenon headlamps, automatic high beams, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, exterior keypad entry and heated mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming. Inside you'll find leather upholstery, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats with driver memory settings and four-way lumbar adjustment, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, Sync voice control, the MyLincoln Touch electronics interface, mobile WiFi and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
The MKS EcoBoost is similarly equipped but comes with a twin-turbocharged engine, standard all-wheel drive and 20-inch wheels.
There are two optional packages. The Premium package includes blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a power rear sunshade, a rearview camera, a premium 16-speaker surround-sound audio system and a navigation system. The Elite package includes everything in the Premium package plus front "multicontour" seats, automated parallel-parking assist, heated rear seats, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist and a premium wood package.
Stand-alone options include a dual-panel sunroof and adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support.
Powertrains and Performance
Both FWD (front-wheel-drive) and AWD (all-wheel-drive) trim levels share the same powertrain: a 3.7-liter V6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift control. This engine generates 300 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. EPA estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 highway mpg and 21 mpg combined, 1 mpg better combined than last year's MKS. With AWD, those numbers drop slightly to 18/26/21.
The all-wheel-drive EcoBoost model is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is estimated at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
The 2013 Lincoln MKS comes standard with stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and antilock brakes. Adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support is available as an option, as are blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems, lane-departure and lane-keeping assist, and a rearview camera.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the MKS earned a top rating of "Good" for its safety in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 MKS features an all-new interior design. Sweeping lines replace straight ones and a subtle ambient lighting system adds to the interior's luxurious environment. Materials quality and fit and finish are both greatly improved for 2013, though several items such as the turn signals are no different from those found in the Taurus and other Fords. It's a small detail, but it's the small details that make cars from Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz feel more special.
The standard MyLincoln Touch interface consists of three display screens and the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice, touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory, and it does provide some nice customization possibilities. Unfortunately, there's a learning curve involved, and even with this year's update, we've found the system can be tough to reach and prone to strange glitches. Furthermore, the touch-sensitive sliders that replace the traditional volume and fan speed knobs may look futuristic, but they're finicky to use.
Being a large sedan, the 2013 MKS offers plenty of interior and cargo space, with generous head- and legroom. Rear passenger room and comfort are particularly impressive, as the high-mounted seat provides especially good thigh support and an elevated view. The trunk is one of the bigger ones you'll find, with an 18.4-cubic-foot capacity.
The 2013 Lincoln MKS feels like the big, solid car it is when driven down the freeway. The steering is responsive and well-weighted, and provides a welcome sense of control. However, the MKS also lacks the ride quality refinement of similarly priced luxury sedans. With the EcoBoost model and its 20-inch wheels, the ride can actually be a bit harsh and tiresome over expansion joints and other pavement imperfections. In terms of engines, the base 3.7-liter V6 is sufficient for moving the big and heavy MKS. The EcoBoost V6 is very stout, nicely duplicating the sort of acceleration you'd expect from a V8.